The congress of Chechen war veterans, convened on February 21 at the initiative of Chechen Prime Minister Shamil Basaev, was expected to condemn Salman Raduev’s claim of responsibility for the assassination attempt on Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. When Raduev first made his claim, Chechnya’s prosecutor general opened a criminal case against him for slandering the Chechen leadership, and the chairman of the republic’s Supreme Shariah Court, Hussein-Hadji Batukaev, told Raduev to turn himself in and to disband his "Army of General Dudaev." But congress participants greeted Raduev with stormy applause. Nor did Basaev criticize Raduev, merely commenting that the matter should be dealt with by the Shariah Court. Basaev did, however, say that, if Raduev did not comply with the demands of the authorities and the Shariah Court, Basaev would deal with him personally.
This would not be the first time the authorities have tried to "deal with" Raduev. Both Basaev and President Aslan Maskhadov have summoned the rogue field commander on more than one occasion after he has issued threats and other controversial claims. Such meetings usually end either with statements that there is no reason for disagreement or with hints that Raduev is mentally ill.
That seems to be what will happen this time. At a press conference this week, Raduev and Information Minister Akhmed Zakaev declared themselves "more united than ever before." This makes the prosecutor general look like an irrelevance. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 24)
Population of Karachaevo-Cherkessia Demand to Elect their President.